Impaired holistic coding of facial expression and facial identity in congenital prosopagnosia

Romina Palermo*, Megan L. Willis, Davide Rivolta, Elinor McKone, C. Ellie Wilson, Andrew J. Calder

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    175 Citations (Scopus)


    We test 12 individuals with congenital prosopagnosia (CP), who replicate a common pattern of showing severe difficulty in recognising facial identity in conjunction with normal recognition of facial expressions (both basic and 'social'). Strength of holistic processing was examined using standard expression composite and identity composite tasks. Compared to age- and sex-matched controls, group analyses demonstrated that CPs showed weaker holistic processing, for both expression and identity information. Implications are (a) normal expression recognition in CP can derive from compensatory strategies (e.g., over-reliance on non-holistic cues to expression); (b) the split between processing of expression and identity information may take place after a common stage of holistic processing; and (c) contrary to a recent claim, holistic processing of identity is functionally involved in face identification ability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1226-1235
    Number of pages10
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


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